SkyTrain Stories

Mark I SkyTrain interior

Don’t you wish you could have an empty car each time you take the train?

It’s never a dull moment riding rapid transit here in Vancouver. There’s always some interesting conversation going on, provocative people milling about, or odd item left behind on (or under) the seats.

While taking the train to Waterfront for the Canada Day fireworks earlier this month, I was sandwiched between two conversations that were miles apart. To my left, I had a couple engaged in a drunken babble while drinking from liquor bottles concealed in paper bags. On my right, however, was a debate between a group of friends over the circumstances someone should be called a doctor after receiving a degree from a university.

If you’re not already aware, SkyTrain uses the honour system — there are no turnstiles to go through after purchasing your fare. During the rush hour in spring 2004, I had the misfortune of striking up a conversation with another rider on my way downtown for school. He went on and on about how he’s never purchased a ticket and that the transit police are always out to get him (I wonder why?). As the packed train stopped at the Patterson station, two officers poked their heads into the car to make sure everything was OK and not to check tickets. The guy saw them and bolted through the open doors onto the platform before the cops shouted at him and gave chase. I think they’ve met each other a couple times before.

Headed downtown on a sunny late May morning, I picked some nice seats that had a view of a couple people going into Vancouver for, as they were loudly stating, the Roger Waters concert later that evening. It’s about 10:30 am or so, and I can tell they’re already drunk. Not only can I hear it, I can smell the cheap beer stagnating in the car. They weren’t being abusive to any of the other passengers, and no-one intervened or complained, so I got some cheap entertainment. I hope they had fun at their concert.

I have contributed to the oddities on SkyTrain too. Wearing a costume while taking the train down to Waterfront to check out Fan Expo Vancouver always invites interesting stares and comments. So, if you ever see Soul Eater or Naruto (or maybe someone else!), it might just be me.

I know this didn’t happen on SkyTrain, or in Vancouver for that matter, but I need to share it. Back in 2009, a friend and I were taking the Brown Line in Chicago to visit a friend, when a man sitting across from us noticed we were wearing anime t-shirts. He asked if we were fans of anime and then proceeded to explain that he was working on the follow-up series to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Stupidly, we got off the train a station after the conversation started instead of staying on board to learn more. What we heard would end up becoming The Legend of Korra which just launched on Nickelodeon in April of this year.

Stuff like this just doesn’t happen everyday!

About Frederick Linsmeyer

A regular pop-drinking, hockey-watching, snow-shovelling Canadian, Frederick, aka Nephrus, loves his anime. Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Frederick runs amok between his hometown and the states of Illinois and Texas, spending time with friends, at anime conventions and looking for some good burgers or sashimi.


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